Watermelon salad, with diced watermelon and feta with tarragon orange vinaigrette, at Saint Rocco's New York Italian in Trinity Groves in Dallas on Sept. 10, 2015. 

Watermelon salad, with diced watermelon and feta with tarragon orange vinaigrette, at Saint Rocco's New York Italian in Trinity Groves in Dallas on Sept. 10, 2015. 

Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News

Many of the restaurant concepts Phil Romano created have since been sold to corporations. "Do I get upset when I go into a Fuddruckers today? Yes," Romano writes in his book Food For Thought: How the creator of Fuddruckers, Romano's Macaroni Grill and Eatzi's built a $10 billion empire one concept at a time. "But they still have a damn good hamburger and I wish them success."

Dallas entrepreneur Phil Romano debuts restaurant of his lifetime, Saint Rocco's

With that caveat — that many of his restaurants have changed since he was involved — he lists his favorite dishes at some of them:

Romano's Macaroni Grill: He remembers loving the roasted chicken back at the original in San Antonio. Today, the chain has Chicken Under a Brick, which comes with seasonal vegetables and garlic rosemary potatoes.

Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q: Romano likes the brisket or ribs. "It's still good," he says.

Eatzi's: For breakfast, Romano eats oatmeal with vanilla cream. He also likes the roasted salmon and the Friday night pizzas.

Fuddruckers: He skips the famous nacho cheese sauce, though he understands why customers love it. Romano orders a half-pound beef burger and tops it with pickles and ketchup.

Coal Vines: The order here is simple: a pepperoni pizza with any of the salads.

Read more about how this Dallas restaurateur broke all the rules creating more than a dozen restaurants.

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